It seems the only time I make time to write on this blog, is when family members die. A little less than a year after the passing of her brother, the face of evil herself was in too much pain to carry on. She was a brave and sometimes happy kitty that last year, even without her brother, and I'm so very glad that she has been around for almost my entire childhood. In the end I guess she was more "mine" and her brother more my sister's kind of cat. So I miss her, but it's fine. The other fluffy household companions are doing really well (she wrote, accidentally kicking the cat that had curled up in a very inconvenient spot under the desk). They've settled in nicely, but I indulge them too much, so now and again they climb on my head when I sleep. It's actually rather sweet.
Other things to report? Website redesign and new plans which I can only share with you the coming summer. None the less, I can take more time to blog here. Why? Because it's my own private social network (current membership: 2) and I'd love to share some of the things I cook. And not only in the "shouting short sentences into the abyss that is twitter"-way, I'd like to shout much more eloquently and elaborately into the abyss that is the internet in general.
And then, maybe, in the summer, once the things I am working on have taken shape, I'll share with you articles about the morality of adding to an inexhaustive amount of art in this post-modern society of ours. Or about the theory of why people respond to some theatre and not other kinds. Because I've been thinking about those things for years. Really. In the middle of getting a grip on my raging hormones, trying to deal with intense awkwardness and failing to understand philosophy (seriously, is there anybody who can actually understand it all?), I also thought an awful lot about everything around me, and listened to Hilary Duff. I recently picked those old habits back up, because they go together quite well, and sometimes you just need to listen to the musical equivalent of bubble gum. So I'll eventually share with you how that went. That's it for now!
December 7th, 2013
And happy to tell you that I am now a Bachelor of Theatre Design, though not a studier of Theatre Sciences, because the new Dutch system is getting to be about as fair as the American one. But no use complaining, instead I will just work and bake pies. There are never enough pies.
But before all of that, it's my sad duty to inform you of the passing of one of our family members. The brother of the face of evil is no longer with us due to horrible cancer of death. It was sad, and it's still very difficult for the face of evil. She's less welcoming to the new cats than we are, but still, she's a brave kitty. And then we traveled all the way to the other side of the country to collect Betty from the pound. Once there, this slightly fat tabbycat approached me, I thought it was Betty (she's a tabbycat too), and she was the cutest cat ever, and I was soo happy we had already signed for her. But it turned out to be Ciska. Everyone wanted to take Betty home, 5 people that day, and Ciska had been there for half a year because nobody wanted a dumpy eye-infected tabbycat. But somehow none of that mattered and we took two cats home and I am happy to report that Ciska has lost some weight and most of her eye-puss and that she's getting along swimmingly with Betty. They have this weird obsession with the bathtub, and they insist on sleeping in my bed, which I, as it unexpectedly turned out, don't mind at all and actually find calming.
Enough about my cats. I will be working on theatre-related things, which you can all see on the portfolio and I'll be baking. I have devised some recipes over the past year, but some of them will need to stay mine, because some secret pies should remain secret (if your sister's income as a catering service depends on it). Maybe there'll be more cookbook reviews, there'll be home remodeling, movie reviews, you name it, I'll do it. Actually, you can always email me with requests.
PS. If you were wondering, the worms are now in two containers. I just moved them to their bigger place. I am such a proud worm-mother. And very happy that Betty and Ciska are unaware of the existence of my babies, although Betty looked suspiciously interested when I fed the worms with her in the same room...
July 19th, 2013
I have decided to stop posting for a while. Although I love it, I find I don't have the time to post, and then I feel guilty for not posting. The coming year I have an internship and will be graduating, as well as some other projects, so I'll probably be even busier then in the past year. I am also planning on having a social life. So this is it. I will miss you, I will miss posting recipes, but I'll say goodbye to you with some rather lovely pictures.
Here's a small list of things you'll not see me post about:
- Io Sono L'Amore
- Vegan Tiramisu
- A Straight-Edge Vegan Cheese and Wine Party
- Muffins (with Fruit Pulp!) and Juice
- Shame On Thee, TVP!
- Kala Namak (and why I find it slightly disgusting)
- Beer (and how most of it is in fact vegan)
- Soylent Green (with actual lentils and tofu)
- The buying (and breaking) of a Pizza Stone
- A Review of Fright Night ('85 and 2011)
- Why it's better to bake your meringue on high and keep it slightly soft
So this is me, saying goodbye. I wish I had something eloquent to say. The only thing I can tell you is: bake your meringue as Mrs. Hubmle suggest (maybe a tad longer), go watch Star Trek Next Generation and have a wonderful end of the holidays. And my sister has a twitter now, so you should follow her. My pictures are better, but she actually posts!
August 18th, 2012
Remember how Bobby was dying? He was on his last legs. And giving him a little gut-supporting pyjama wasn't enough. He just didn't feel as nice, texture was lost. And stuffing sortoff leaked out through the legs. I was having serious anxiety issues about his leaving me. So after weighing all my options (getting over it, finding a professional to help with either his issues or my issues, learning how to knit) I decided to re-knit him entirely.
I then deconstructed and reconstituted him. It seemed a daunting task, but it turns out the difficulty of knitting round with 4 needles is overrated, as is knitting in general. He hasn't felt this firm since I was 4. I do have to confess that counting the stitches was arduous, and that the first attempt at knitting his nose was different than expected. But in the end, it wasn't that impossible. So now he and I will be together forever! Or in any case as long as I will live and am able to re-knit him when things get tough.
As you can see Bobby is reclining atop some very nicely coloured books, cookbooks: Clean Food and Clean Start. And not all that expensive, considering the photographs and invaluable information. They reminded me of Gezond en Lekker Eten, with some macrobiotic tendencies, but they're certainly more modern (also some nutritional information has been updated in the last printing). It's the food I grew up with, healthy and delicious, only vegan and with really nice pictures. The basic how-to-cook-a-pulse-and-why-is-this-vegetable-good-for-me information is all there. Better than Veganomicon by a mile, as far as I'm concerned, or at least more like how I normally cook or would like to cook when I cook something other then pasta with veggies and salad and tofu.
August 18th, 2012
At the start of this lovely summer (ok, those 3 days that weren't a rainy mess), we had tomatoes. And lots of them. Very ripe, almost too much so. So I added horribly-tasting soy cheese. And just as some sour soup recently proved: no product so foul that it can't be made deceptively delicious by fresh herbs. And what better fresh herbs than those from your own garden?
The garden has gone really well recently, we now even have artichoke (turns out to be a one-year plant, damn it), lavender and olives. Although most of those won't exactly thrive in Dutch conditions. But the tomatoes are doing fine for now, and so are the courgettes.
I can recommend making some sandwiches now harvest time is upon us. Before it's too late and we're stuck with roasted parsnips for 4 months. With the occasional bit of leek for diversion. As always, everything's better with (vegan) Worcester sauce.
August 17th, 2012
I went to Ghent. Ages ago. With the Paddington Raincoat, some different classmates and sensible walking shoes. It was wonderful. Because Ghent is vegan capital of Belgium, or so it seems. And getting there cost next to nothing. If I ever find myself there without nonsensical schoolassignements, I'll definitely eat more, at different places.
There were very nice museums, it was truly a lovely lovely city and it's well worth a visit. A few websites to help you with that: Vegan Backpacker. Happy Cow's always good, and I also found this Belgian restaurant guide, but there was much more than the ones mentioned there. I loved Bio Planet. Their tofu-salad was exquisite. We went to a school cafeteria, and even there vegan food was to be found. It's never more than a stone's throw away! Also, good beer was everywhere. I love Belgium!
April 19th, 2012
We can now make Challah without egg in this house. Why? Because we are awesome, and because Jewish people should't have to horribly torture chickens in order to have traditional bread. Yes, I am fully aware that taking the egg out of the Challah sort off undermines the "traditional" in that sentence, but who's to know? Not me, because I've never had proper Challah in my life and the only thing I have to go on was that this version tastes damn good. And eggy. But you'll get that when you mix curucma with orgran no-egg. The color alone makes you think festive thoughts.
As you can see we can also make traditional baguettes and pita bread. How?, you may ask. Well, thanks to one wonderful, nay, brilliant book, which is ridiculously easily veganized. That, and I have some French Vegan Boulangerie book with tips on puff pastry, so it won't be long before we have our won croissants and pains aux chocolat.
We have monday-bread-days at our house, I can highly recommend it. Because two (or actually 6) know more than one, and with the waiting during the rising, it's nice to have people around to have tea with and dance to silly music. What's more, you could just as easily fit this into a busy schedule, but we find baking one afternoon a week to familiarize ourselves with the recipes really works, and it's so much more fun. My mum sold the bread maker. It's substandard compared to actually handcrafted bread.
Anyway, go order How To Bake Bread and you will never be able to stop baking bread.
April 15th, 2012
I'm warning you: this post will be rather self-congratulatory. See, I baked an Alaska. The internet usually overhypes the difficulty of recipes, and probably any gimmicky cook with an ounce of self-respect can out-alaska-bake me in a second. However, their alaskans are not vegan. But mine is, and I'll assure you it'll work just as good. It's not that hard, it just takes some patience and some kitchen gadgets.
It's pretty damn straightforward. You just bake brownies from Vegan Cookies, then top with chocolate ice cream. That ice cream in itself was quite the victory: it's probably the best chocolate ice cream I've ever eaten. In my life. Even beating a strange chocolate-amaretto flavor I once had in Rome, both vegan an non-vegan store bought and, dare I say, my dad's home made chocolate ice cream by a mile. Did I mention it's sugar-free, fiber-rich and full of almondy goodness? I probably shouldn't have, but if you plan on being healthy, you could skip the alaska and go straight for the ice cream.
The same isn't true for the rest of the alaska. Granted, there's no egg or dairy, but it consist mostly of margarine, sugar, white flour and powdered sugar. Also potato starch.
But this is decadent-dessert-time, not health-food-obsession-time. This'd be the perfect recipe for a formal dinner, if you have the time to bake and serve for dessert. As always, I'd advise you to check out Ms. Humbles post first. It's full of useful information, although the baking of our vegan meringue is slightly different from regular meringue in this case. You'll need to bake it slightly longer, until the tops turn brown. The ice cream won't melt if you make sure it's cold to begin with.
The Recipe: Baked Alaska
April 6th, 2012
Today, I'll give you two versions of one recipe: the big traditional one and some smaller deconstructed pieces of heaven.
None of these pies would have been possible without Ms. Humble (or Orgran No-Egg). Ms. Humble's picture of a pie wetting itself, along with her explanation of the internal struggle of the lemon-part of the pie inspires greatness. Read her entire post before you attempt this recipe. And Orgran No-Egg just kicks ass. I adapted/invented this recipe a week before Vegan Pie in the Sky came out and I was deeply worried they'd have me beaten to the punch. They didn't. This is still the best Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie I know of.
This isn't the easiest recipe you'll ever master, so you might want to follow it somewhat carefully. However: once you have mastered it, vegans will worship the ground you walk on, just as those with egg- and gluten-intolerance (if you use GF-crust and certified GF ingredients). Of course I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to use their favorite recipe for the crust. I've taken a new shine to the shortbread tart-shell from Pie in the Sky. If you want it really fancy, blowtorch you meringue, or put it under the broiler for a minute or so. I have yet to meet an omnivore who notices it's egg-less, but I'm not sure if this is what one expects from Lemon Meringue Pie. I've never had a fondness of meringues, but since it could be done, I felt it should be done.
A vegan Baked Alaska, also based on Ms. Humbles instructions, will follow shortly. It turns out it's all so much easier to make than I could ever have imagined. Oh, and the "decontructed pies" were a solution because I had to feed people pie without plates or forks or napkins. So after making a big fancy one I just stacked a second batch onto biscuits and added miniature poofs of meringue.
One last word of warning: don't slice the pie before it's completely cooled. I did. The following mess came about. Once it did finally cool, it sliced beautifully, none of the pie wetting itself business, but by then it was dark, so no pictures. Which was the reason I started slicing way too early in the first place, the impending darkness (otherwise known as twilight, the natural phenomenon, not the pathetic hysterical cultural one). The crust stayed perfectly intact as well. The pie was gone that same evening. It's that good. You'll just have to trust me on the brilliance of the filling. Or rather, trust Ms. Humble on the brilliance of hers. She will not let you down. And neither will Orgran.
Vegan Lemon Meringue Pie
March 25th, 2012